Ashwaubenon rallies late in win over Pulaski
By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – It’s not how you start the game, but rather how you finish.
Despite falling behind 3-0 after three innings, the Ashwaubenon softball team rallied in a 4-3 Fox River Classic Conference victory over Pulaski April 16 at Pioneer Park.
Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Jaguars (5-1 overall, 4-0 FRCC) scored two runs to win the battle of the conference unbeatens.
Kally VanLaanen’s two-out, RBI double plated Kate Cleveland with the winning run.
“I just went up to the plate confident and knew I had to get a hit to win, and that’s what I did,” said VanLaanen, who had two hits in the game. “I learned that we can come back even being down 3-0. We got the hits when we needed them. This was a great win for us – Pulaski is a great team and it gives us confidence.”
Leadoff hitter Zion Estano started the winning rally with a single before Cleveland knocked her in with an RBI double of her own to tie the game.
“We showed some resiliency,” said Ashwaubenon head coach Shannon VanLaanen. “They came back and kept fighting. When we play Pulaski, there are a lot of one-run games, so we talked about taking it pitch-by-pitch and inning-by-inning. Until somebody knocks Pulaski off, they are the (FRCC) champs. They’ve won the last couple in a row – it’s a good confidence builder.”
Pulaski (3-1, 3-1) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on a Peighton Agamaite two-run homer in the first.
Agamaite also scored the third run for the Red Raiders in the third after she drilled a two-out triple to right-center and scored on a Josie Wesoloski double.
It appeared that might be all Pulaski pitcher Lauren Dixon might need, but Ashwaubenon scored single tallies in the fourth and fifth innings to claw its way back.
After smacking five hits in the first three innings, the Red Raiders collected only one the rest of the way.
“Ashwaubenon is a very well-coached team,” said Pulaski head coach Billi Jo Vertz. “We have the ability to produce runs, but we can’t shut down after the third like we did. We’ve got to have good quality at-bats.”
After the rocky first when she gave up three hits, Cleveland settled down from there to pick up the pitching win for the Jags.
She struck out 11 and didn’t walk a batter.
Emma Wiese relieved Dixon in the sixth and took the loss.
“We have two quality pitchers and have confidence in both,” added Vertz. “Lauren had walked a few batters and given up some hits, so we thought it was a good time to switch things up.”
Estano and Anna Wendorf also had two hits for Ashwaubenon, while Josie Hilbert added a double in the Jaguars’ nine-hit attack.
Hannah Kreuser had a double for the Red Raiders.
Pulaski: 201 000 0 – 3 6 0
Ashwaubenon: 000 110 2 – 4 9 1